Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has been re-elected as director-general of the World Health Organization, setting him up for an additional 5 years within the prime job on the international well being physique.
Tedros was elected to a second time period in a secret poll on Tuesday, after operating unopposed. In a break from custom, his nation of origin, Ethiopia, didn’t again his candidacy.
The primary African to guide the UN’s well being physique faces the troublesome activity of rebuilding belief within the WHO after critics, together with the US Trump administration, accused it of mismanaging the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
He advised delegates in Geneva after his reappointment that he was “really grateful and very humbled for your confidence and trust”. He referred to components of the early days of the pandemic, thanking and praising the work of his colleagues.
In the course of the pandemic, the WHO has come beneath sustained criticism for being too sluggish to warn on the transmissibility of Covid-19, its potential to unfold from human to human, and on being too sluggish to warn concerning the means of the virus to evolve.
In the course of the Trump presidency, the US threatened to withdraw from the organisation over its dealing with of the pandemic.
However the WHO has additionally been praised for a few of its work, campaigning at size for higher equality in entry to medicines and instruments to fight Covid, particularly vaccines.
The WHO is without doubt one of the organisations behind vaccine entry scheme Covax, which was arrange in 2020 to make sure jabs attain the world’s poorest individuals. Tedros, particularly, has been vocal about vaccine nationalism and criticised wealthier international locations for hoarding vaccines.
His tenure on the WHO has additionally coincided with a sexual abuse scandal within the Democratic Republic of Congo, for which he has apologised to victims. In an tackle final 12 months, Tedros stated he was sorry for acts carried out by individuals employed by the WHO and vowed that the well being physique would take additional motion.
The WHO is coping with uncertainty on its funds, which depend on member state contributions and personal donors. However respite may come from a proposal, authorized late on Tuesday in Geneva, that goals to vary the funding mannequin and make monetary commitments from WHO member states extra binding.
Tedros will keep within the prime job on the WHO till August 2027. Beneath present rules, directors-general can solely be reappointed as soon as.